I will take up studies in the UK this fall. Everything I have read about using a car a couple of months ago suited me very well. I was certain that according to the following website, I could use a car with foreign number plates for up to twelve months as a student. https://www.gov.uk/importing-vehicles-into-the-uk/temporary-imports

Now I just checked back some days ago and the text must have been changed. More precisely I am pretty sure the sentence went like this before

You might be able to use a vehicle with foreign number plates for longer than 6 months if one of the following apply:

And now goes like this

You might be able to use a vehicle with foreign number plates for longer than 6 months if all of the following apply:

Now, one would need to fulfill THREE criteria in order to be able to drive with foreign number plates for more than six months.

These would be

  • you normally live outside the EU
  • you’re in the UK for a set period as a student or worker
  • you claim relief from VAT and duty

Then again, the website of the EU states something entirely different, namely that EU students that go on to study in the UK do not have to register at all and don't worry about anything for the duration of their studies. http://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/vehicles/registration/taxes/united-kingdom/index_en.htm

Does anyone know what the currently applied procedure is? And how would you proof this when stopped by the police in the UK?

Lastly, as a follow up question in case I have actually to change plates after 6 months: What would be the procedure and costs? I don't really find my way through the jungle of english bureaucracy..

  • Does anyone know if this is still up to date after brexit? The gov.un website is itself not up to date. They say rules have changed about vehicle import but nothing about the student exemption.
    – Tom
    Mar 20, 2021 at 19:49

1 Answer 1


On the europa.eu page you linked it says:


If you are a student in the United Kingdom from another EU country you:

  • do not have to register your own car with the authorities here for your period of study. This also applies if the car is owned by your parents, who are not resident in the United Kingdom

  • do not have to pay registration and/or road taxes on it in the United Kingdom

  • do not have to buy additional car insurance for your period of study here, but this may depend on the cover you hold

I read this as meaning if you are studying even for several years you do not need to register your car in the UK.

Do note the item about insurance. It is a crime to drive without adequate insurance here. You may need to tell your insurer that you spend the majority of your time in the UK.

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